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I bought a new motorcycle (with clutch and six gears) and am learning to ride from the internet. I haven't found the answer of the following question.

How do I know when I should shift gear only by seeing the speedometer and tachometer?

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The only real rule is that you have to keep the tach between the idle speed (usually ~500 RPM) and the redline (probably around 10000 for a bike). In practice you'll usually want to find the band where the engine feels most comfortable. This is based more on sound and feel than anything. If the bike lurches or nearly stalls as you're letting the clutch out, you need to wait and shift later, but if the engine is revving high and you end up getting an engine brake effect when you let the clutch out, you should shift earlier.

Also, generally speaking your engine is better at producing power at higher RPMs so the faster you are trying to accelerate the closer to the redline you would push each shift. If you're just driving around town your shifts are generally going to be well before you get anywhere close to the redline and may only span 1000 or fewer RPMs especially on the last couple of gears.

Once you get used to this you'll do it by sound and feel and will almost never look at the tach unless you're really pushing it and waiting until the last second to shift every time.

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It's somewhat hard to explain. Keep in mind two things:

  1. Never let your engine stall
  2. Never let your tachometer red line

Engine speed for both case will vary for different vehicles. Engine speed between the red line on tachometer and idle speed is the safe region for gear shifting. But there is a particular RPM where your bike will deliver Maximum Torque (check manual); if you shift at that RPM, you will get the greatest acceleration. But if you keep your tachometer needle around middle of the meter, then you will get better mileage, better engine life, and less maintenance. Overall, simply feel your bike's engine and ride smooth.

  • Note that for Motorbikes, best achievable fuel economy may not be anywhere near the middle of the tach. On my GSXR-750, I can't actually legally get to the middle of the tach in anything but first, and that on the freeway. Redline is at 15K, best achievable efficiency on the street is down around 5k – Leliel Jul 21 '15 at 0:54

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